Product management is often referred to as a combination of business processes, user experiences, and various forms of technology. Today, product management is taking a seat at the management table. Tasked with various roles within tech organizations, a product manager must continually bring creativity that’s laser-focused on maximizing business, while offering a digital experience that exceeds consumers’ expectations. This can oftentimes be challenging due to our ever-changing technological society.
High paid product managers across the globe vary in their roles and functions. A lot of them play a role that is more internally focused, while others work from a more consumer-focused perspective. Despite the differences in each managers' role, the skills necessary to be a highly effective tech product manager will hold true across all organizations.
Let’s take a look at a few of the innumerable skills tech companies look for in a high-quality tech product manager.
A respectable product manager doesn't have to be a software guru, but he does need to possess an in-depth understanding of technology, especially when it comes to working in the cloud. A product manager should have a shared language and understanding with engineers. In addition, having a genuine understanding of project complexity will go a long way in enhancing team collaboration and respect.
Many of today’s companies, like Google, only hire product managers who have expertise in software development. Not all companies require an engineering background for prospective product managers but learning the basics of software is essential in making yourself marketable as a talented employee.
Product managers know who their target audience is. They understand that walking in the shoes of the customer and listening to their problems are key to customer satisfaction. During the product development phase, they make sure the users’ needs stay at the center of focus. They tie customer feedback to elements in product design and work closely with marketing teams to create robust products.
With a deep understanding of the targeted audience, companies will often prefer to hire product managers who have extensive industry experience. Others, however, sometimes look for product managers who have a more diverse background. These types of managers can bring creative ideas to the organization and give it a fresh perspective on how to meet the needs of consumers in innovative ways. One thing that all employers agree on is that product managers must have good interpersonal skills because there is an extreme need to interact with the end users to ensure their needs are being met.
Data-Driven, Quick Decision Making
When responding to user issues, time is sensitive, and a product manager must be able to make good decisions. These can be small decisions or big decisions, but the primary goal a product manager focuses on is being able to make the right decision in a short amount of time. This expedites the product development phase and allows companies to roll out new product launches on a regular basis.
Conducting early releases of products and features for testing purposes is a growing trend. This calls for a quick response and rapid-decision making to properly address user issues, and it allows managers to work closely with stakeholders. Product managers must always be ready to make a decision in the blink of an eye. High-quality product managers can look at data and quickly determine the correct action or recommendation to make.
Good Eye for Design
A lot of today's companies will look specifically for a product manager who has went to school to become a tech product manager. Although tech experience is obviously a plus, there's a strong need to have a good sense of design. The goal, of course, is to please the end user not only from a convenience point of view but from an aesthetic appeal perspective. Take for example the company Airbnb. The company's entire team flew to New York due to a decision to enhance the end user experience by taking high-quality photos of the rentals they could choose from. This undoubtedly was a turning point for the company.
To understand what does and does not look right, product managers need to become fairly good at sketching. There's no need to be an artist, but sketching allows the manager to pinpoint features that can be incorporated into the product design that make it more user friendly. It also allows them to determine the features they need to steer clear of adding.
Be Able to Streamline Experimentation
There's no denying that product cycles are becoming shorter and shorter. As companies have access to such vasts amounts of data, they are getting better and better at deploying new product launches. As we move from one product to another, though, experiments have to take place to ensure they are meeting the needs of consumers. This requires product managers to have an experimentation mindset.
They must be willing to try different things, and work on a trial and error basis. But experimenting can be costly, not only from a monetary standpoint but from a time perspective too. Plus, experimenting ties up valuable resources that could otherwise be focused somewhere else. A good product manager will be able to streamline experimentation processes with the rest of the company's operations.
We already talked a bit about the importance of interpersonal skills, but really this skill deserves a section all to itself. People management is at the heart of any manager's role within an organization. After all, managing is ultimately about collaborating and communicating with employees to ensure each project is being completed with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness. Product managers will need to make sure engineers and designers alike are prioritizing their tasks and that all activities are being conducted in compliance with the latest laws and regulations. In the tech industry, laws and regulations are constantly changing as technology becomes more advanced. Product managers will need to stay up to date on the latest changes to ensure they are properly managing their product teams.
Interpersonal skills are also necessary because a large amount of a product manager's time will be spent delegating work to other employees. He needs to be familiar with each employees' strengths and weaknesses to appropriately delegate tasks to the workers who can perform them the best.
Good product managers are like Swiss army knives to their employees. They influence all operations, requiring them to be extremely diverse in their talents. By understanding and mastering the six skills mentioned above, you can be on your way to climbing the ladder as a tech product manager. Contact ICS when you're ready to start the rest of your career. Don't hesitate to check out our current open roles below.